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Protesters rally at Lawrence Livermore lab on Hiroshima anniversary - Part Two

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This is part two of a two part story - part one can be viewed here

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The guards wore light green digital camouflage BDU outfits with thigh holsters, accessory pouches hanging from belts and straps, they had riot helmets with face shields and each was holding a baton firmly in front of them. While they looked like members of the military, they were instead federal contractors. They had the power of the law on the lab but the Livermore police had the arresting power outside the gate.

After a standoff of 10 minutes, a police officer walked up to the guards and read out a statement informing protesters standing at the gate that they would be arrested if they did not move. The standing protesters didn't budge which resulted in guards walking up and leading each protester beyond the gate.

There was a red canopy tent which had more guards and those arrested could be seen being frisked before being put on a small bus and taken further into the facility and be processed.

The procedure of standing in front of the guards and wait procedure repeated itself a few times before a die-in was announced. Around 30 people laid on the ground and people proceeded to draw chalk outlines of them to symbolize those that had died from the atomic bomb. Watching over the die-in was one of Tri-Valley CAREs founders Marylia Kelley. She says she has been protesting at the lab for 31 years.

“We're here to stand with the survivors (of Hiroshima and Nagasaki) to say never again,” Kelley said. “I personally am very motivated that those who survived the atomic bombings have given their lives to spreading the message of peace and making sure that no one else ever experiences that horror.”

A policeman came out to read another arrest warning to protesters which had some get up and move. Those remaining were eventually get arrested and taken onto the lab property.

At another gate further down the street the protesters were being dropped off and released from the grounds. Some were still clutching their yellow citations.

Charlie Martin of San Francisco found the experience to be low key. “It was pretty mellow,” Martin said. It's symbolic more than anything else compared to other times I've been arrested.”

While Jill Alcantar of San Francisco has protested at the lab before, this was the first time she was arrested for protesting there. She shared the reason she decided to get arrested this year.

“I have seven grandkids,” Alcantar said. “We must consider our impact on the next seven generations.”

She had been arrested for protesting in San Francisco during the Iraq War and dealt with an uncomfortable situation where protesters were chained to a second person. She recalled that protesters were still handcuffed for their companion for the five hours they were behind bars. “When we had to go to the bathroom, they didn't unlock us. So we had to do some maneuvering.”

Sherry Larsen-Beville of San Leandro had an easier time in Livermore compared to Alcantar's San Francisco experience. “It was comfortable, it was fast, everyone was very cordial,” Larsen-Beville said.

“One [of the guards] asked what do we get out of this. I told him it's not what we get but what we give.”

Many of the protester say they will return next year on Good Friday and Hiroshima Day. Some will choose to be arrested for civil disobedience again.

For Kelley, she is committed to the cause and has a big reason driving her on. “They are “We're here to stand with the survivors (of Hiroshima and Nagasaki) to say never again. I personally am very motivated that those who survived the atomic bombings have given their lives to spreading the message of peace and making sure that no one else ever experiences that horror.”

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